Jones took a 1-0 offering from Murray State relief pitcher Daniel Harris out to right, breaking an 8-8 tie with his first career home run to lift Arkansas State to a 9-8 victory over the Thoroughbreds in non-conference baseball action Wednesday night at Tomlinson Stadium-Kell Field. Jones went 2-for-3 at the plate with a home run and a triple, while driving in four runs and scoring three times, both team highs on the night.
ASU improved to 12-19 with the victory, while MSU fell to 6-20 with the loss. The win gave ASU a series sweep in the two-game set between the Indians and Thoroughbreds this season. ASU defeated MSU 12-7 on Feb. 28 in Murray, Ky.
First baseman Brandon Eller added two hits and scored a run, while designated hitter A.J. Prickel went 1-for-2 with a home run, two walks and three runs batted in. Center fielder Aaron Ferguson also drove in two runs for the Tribe.
ASU’s bottom four batters in the order had five of the Tribe’s 10 hits, drove in all nine Indian runs and also scored five runs.
Seth Hudson went 3-for-4 with two RBI to lead Murray State at the plate, while Chad Allen also had two hits, drove in two runs and scored two runs.
Nathan Gates (1-4) tossed a scoreless ninth inning to pick up his first win of the year. Nick Lambert struck out three in two and one-third scoreless innings before Gates came in in the ninth. Freshman Jack McGrath started the game and gave up three runs in five innings, before freshman Zach Skaggs took over in the sixth inning. Skaggs gave up five runs (four earned) in two-thirds of an inning.
Harris (0-1) gave up two runs on four hits in three and two-thirds innings to take the loss for the Thoroughbreds.
MSU scored three runs in the fourth inning to break a scoreless tie and take a 3-0 lead.
ASU struck back with three in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game at 3-all. Eller walked to lead off the inning and advanced to third on a double by catcher Drew Rogers. Jones tripled, driving in two to cut the ‘Breds lead to two. Prickel drove in Jones with a ground out to tie the game at 3-3.
The Indians added four runs and batted around in the fifth to take a 7-3 lead. Third baseman Guy Brown singled to lead off the inning and move to second on a one-out base hit by Eller. Rogers walked to load the bases.
Jones walked to drive in Brown and give ASU a 4-3 lead, and Prickel added a two-out bases loaded walk to bring in Rogers and give the Tribe a 5-3 advantage. Ferguson’s single drove in two and pushed the Indians’ cushion to 7-3.
MSU had four hits and took advantage of a walk, a catcher’s interference and a wild pitch to plate five runs in the top of the sixth to take an 8-7 lead.
Prickel hit his third home run of the season, a solo shot in the seventh inning, to tie the game at 8-all.
The Indians return to action this weekend when they host Florida International in a three-game Sun Belt Conference series. The series begins with a 6 p.m. game on Friday and concludes with a 2 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday.